First Step Learning Center has a child centered, play based philosophy. Play is a central force in young children’s development. It fosters all aspect of the child’s development: emotional, social, intellectual, linguistic, and physical. In the earliest stages, children use play to practice known actions and to learn about their bodies in relation to their environment. As they grow, children become engaged in pretend play, where seemingly inanimate objects take on a life of their own. Social play offers children the opportunity to practice perspective taking and explore the wonderful world of friendships. The teachers at First Step view play as a vehicle for children to learn about their environment and to explore their new found independence. Most importantly, we believe that by integrating play into the curriculum it allows opportunities for teachers to gain a deeper understanding of each child in the classroom.
Play is the source of laughter and humor, of inventiveness and beauty. It allows us to entertain possibilities and envision the future. It helps us to explore in our own efforts and to explore the full range of our emotions. It fosters the spontaneity and joy that makes us truly human.
J.Hoorn et al.